8 facts to consider in your Sina Weibo social strategy

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sina weibo

Chinese online giant Sina has released an interesting report filled with facts and stats about users of its Sina Weibo service, which has over 400 million registered users. The report has a lot of Weibo user demographics that can be useful for brands’ social media strategies. Here are eight of the most important facts:

1. Gender and Age

Weibo users are split evenly along gender lines, with 180 million each. That doesn’t add up to Sina’s newest 400 million figure, so it seems the data was compiled a few months ago. Anyway, users are mostly people born after 1980, making it a very young user-base. The biggest group is those born between 1980 and 1989 – who are China’s first boomers and netizens. Those born in 1990 or thereafter are the ones to watch, and the group that might require a change of strategy:

2. Education Levels

As well as being quite young, Weibo users are also skewed towards being well-educated, with the majority having a university degree or higher. Indeed, 30 percent of current Weibo users are current university students, making them the biggest single professional user-group. The next largest subset is white-collar workers, representing 19.6 percent:

3. Monthly Income and Spending Levels

The chart on the left relates to monthly disposable income among Weibo users, while the blue chart relates to income. Clearly, the bulk of users say that they spend 1,000 RMB to 2,999 RMB ($159 to $478) per month. Tallied with the afore-mentioned preponderance of white-collar and mid-level office workers (in #2) on the social site, there’s a fairly sizable chunk of income set aside for spending each month:

4. Spending Power

All of Sina Weibo’s users have an annual theoretical spending power of RMB 16 trillion (US$2.55 trillion), which equates to the GDP of Italy. Okay, so Chinese people tend to be conservative with spending – preferring to save for college funds and to counterbalance a lack of a social safety net – so this one is not so meaningful for brands. Instead it’d be better to look at education and income levels and carefully cross-reference that with regional distribution. Nonetheless, this is a fun factoid:

5. Where are Weibo Users?

Weibo users are – as the above stats suggest – scattered across China’s richer coastal areas and hi-tech manufacturing hubs. On the heat map, Guangdong stands out in red, with the most Weibo users of all, then Jiangsu province and Beijing municipality. All three provinces have a similar weight of middle-class and wealthy inhabitants, and its interesting that they share a strong Weibo user-base as well:

6. PCs, TVs, Mobile

Basically, this is what media Weibo users are interested in, compared with folks on Facebook or Twitter. Note the greater love for mobile usage in China:

7. Weibo Usage on PCs, Mobile

For now, Weibo users spend more time accessing the service on their PCs – an average of 5.8 hours per day for a user. On a mobile, that’s down to 3.9 hours. Both stats, Sina claims, are higher than for either Facebook or Twitter:

8. Ad Blockers?

Lastly, how receptive are Weibo users to adverts? Sina claims that the majority find ads “quite useful” – a greater number than those who dislike ads:

You can look at the full report in Chinese for further details (and to see specifics of its methodology) or download our version.

This article by Steven Millward originally appeared on Tech in Asia and was published with permission. All translated graphs courtesy of Tech in Asia.

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